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Elegy: Poems

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Elegy: Poems Cover

ISBN13: 9781555974831
ISBN10: 155597483x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

2007 National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Poetry

Staff Pick

To write a single poem about grief and loss without slipping into sentimentality or self-pity is a rare achievement. To write a book of poems that not only avoids these pitfalls but demonstrates a brave loyalty to the truth is Mary Jo Bang's Elegy. Exploring the expectations and limits inherent in the form, Bang is able to write, with amazing insight, about the nature of memory, language, and love, and all that they can and cannot achieve. It's no surprise that Elegy was the winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award; it's a work that commands immense respect and admiration.
Recommended by Crystal, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Mary Jo Bang's fifth collection, Elegy, chronicles the year following the death of her son. By weaving the particulars of her own loss into a tapestry that also contains the elements common to all losses, Bang creates something far larger than a mere lament. Continually in search of an adequate metaphor for the most profound and private grief, the poems in Elegy confront, in stark terms and with a resilient voice, how memory haunts the living and brings the dead back to life. Within these intimate and personal poems is a persistently urgent, and deeply touching, examination of grief itself.

Review:

"In her powerful fifth collection, Bang asks, 'What is elegy but the attempt / To rebreathe life/ Into what the gone one once was.' Writing to mourn the death of her adult son, Bang interrogates the elegiac form and demands of it more than it can give, frustrated, over and over again, with memory, which falls pitifully short of life: 'Memory is deeply not alive; it's a mock-up/ And this renders it hateful.' The urgent line breaks of Bang's fractured sentences build their own drama, as if her precisions might determine whether or not she will cross the fissures between what she wants to say and what she can't. Aware that there is no vocabulary equal to conveying the pain of losing a loved one or the struggle to be faithful to the loss, the poet ruefully admits, 'That's where things went wrong./ Is went into language.' Plumbing a world made strange by grief means forsaking the mundane; as a result, there are only a few everyday objects in these poems — an overcoat,roller-skates and Phenobarbital pills. Ostensibly a linear account of a year of sorrow, the structure of the collection suggests rather that grief might be crystalline, the poems accruing around a memory that won't move on: 'I say Come Back and you do/ Not do what I want.' While the poet must write and rewrite in order to get her subject right, the mother of a dead child writes to fill the a bottomless chasm.Like Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking, Bang finds no easy consolation, and there is pain for the reader here, too, as when, toward the end of the collection, Bang writes, 'Everything Was My Fault / Has been the theme of the song.' Calling to mind Sharon Olds's The Father and Donald Hall's Without, two other harrowing contemporary book-length poetic studies of loss, Bang offers, if not hope, a kind of keeping company, a way, however painful, to go on: 'Otherwise no longer exists./ There is only stasis, continually/ Granting ceremony to the moment.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"This is a book of exceptional grace and strength....Highly recommended." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Mary Jo Bang's fifth collection, Elegy, chronicles the year following the death of her son. By weaving the particulars of her own loss into a tapestry that also contains the elements common to all losses, Bang creates something far larger than a mere lament. Continually in search of an adequate metaphor for the most profound and private grief, the poems in Elegy confront, in stark terms and with a resilient voice, how memory haunts the living and brings the dead back to life. Within these intimate and personal poems is a persistently urgent, and deeply touching, examination of grief itself.

Synopsis:

Elegy by Mary Jo Bang was the winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and a 2008 New York Times Notable Book

 

Look at her—Its as if

The windows of night have been sewn to her eyes.

                                          —from “Ode to History”

 

About the Author

Mary Jo Bang is the author of four previous books of poetry, including Louise in Love and The Eye Like a Strange Balloon. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is director of the creative writing program at Washington University.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Pat Shannon, May 5, 2008 (view all comments by Pat Shannon)
When new friends see my shelf of books about loss and grief, I have been asked questions such as "Why so many? Haven't you found what you are looking for?" No, I haven't, not yet. But Elegy brings me much of what I have been seeking. The language of loss, best expressed in poetry, best written by those in great pain. Mary Jo Bang knows where it hurts. When my own losses are too great for words, I can seek solace in this beautiful book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(25 of 44 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781555974831
Author:
Bang, Mary Jo
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Grief
Subject:
Elegiac poetry, American.
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Subject:
Single Author / American
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20071031
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
80
Dimensions:
8.8 x 6.72 x 0.6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

Elegy: Poems Used Hardcover
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$8.95 In Stock
Product details 80 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555974831 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

To write a single poem about grief and loss without slipping into sentimentality or self-pity is a rare achievement. To write a book of poems that not only avoids these pitfalls but demonstrates a brave loyalty to the truth is Mary Jo Bang's Elegy. Exploring the expectations and limits inherent in the form, Bang is able to write, with amazing insight, about the nature of memory, language, and love, and all that they can and cannot achieve. It's no surprise that Elegy was the winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award; it's a work that commands immense respect and admiration.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In her powerful fifth collection, Bang asks, 'What is elegy but the attempt / To rebreathe life/ Into what the gone one once was.' Writing to mourn the death of her adult son, Bang interrogates the elegiac form and demands of it more than it can give, frustrated, over and over again, with memory, which falls pitifully short of life: 'Memory is deeply not alive; it's a mock-up/ And this renders it hateful.' The urgent line breaks of Bang's fractured sentences build their own drama, as if her precisions might determine whether or not she will cross the fissures between what she wants to say and what she can't. Aware that there is no vocabulary equal to conveying the pain of losing a loved one or the struggle to be faithful to the loss, the poet ruefully admits, 'That's where things went wrong./ Is went into language.' Plumbing a world made strange by grief means forsaking the mundane; as a result, there are only a few everyday objects in these poems — an overcoat,roller-skates and Phenobarbital pills. Ostensibly a linear account of a year of sorrow, the structure of the collection suggests rather that grief might be crystalline, the poems accruing around a memory that won't move on: 'I say Come Back and you do/ Not do what I want.' While the poet must write and rewrite in order to get her subject right, the mother of a dead child writes to fill the a bottomless chasm.Like Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking, Bang finds no easy consolation, and there is pain for the reader here, too, as when, toward the end of the collection, Bang writes, 'Everything Was My Fault / Has been the theme of the song.' Calling to mind Sharon Olds's The Father and Donald Hall's Without, two other harrowing contemporary book-length poetic studies of loss, Bang offers, if not hope, a kind of keeping company, a way, however painful, to go on: 'Otherwise no longer exists./ There is only stasis, continually/ Granting ceremony to the moment.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "This is a book of exceptional grace and strength....Highly recommended."
"Synopsis" by ,
Mary Jo Bang's fifth collection, Elegy, chronicles the year following the death of her son. By weaving the particulars of her own loss into a tapestry that also contains the elements common to all losses, Bang creates something far larger than a mere lament. Continually in search of an adequate metaphor for the most profound and private grief, the poems in Elegy confront, in stark terms and with a resilient voice, how memory haunts the living and brings the dead back to life. Within these intimate and personal poems is a persistently urgent, and deeply touching, examination of grief itself.
"Synopsis" by ,
Elegy by Mary Jo Bang was the winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and a 2008 New York Times Notable Book

 

Look at her—Its as if

The windows of night have been sewn to her eyes.

                                          —from “Ode to History”

 

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